Noncitizen Voting is a Dangerous Idea that Must be Defeated


July 12, 2022

By Dale Wilcox

By any measure America is currently going through historic times, but not the good kind. Opinion polls show that about 70 percent of Americans believe the country is on the wrong track. We are bombarded with daily news about how our institutions of government at all levels are wobbling or broken. This is not by accident or coincidence.

Those who do not follow political news regularly may be shocked to hear that there are forces at work in our country today that seek to radically change America into something most people would not recognize or want to live in. While there have been radicals throughout our country’s history, the difference this time is that they sit in some of the highest seats of power in our government.

The ascension of Joe Biden to the White House has empowered a legion of extreme anti-borders activists to positions of influence over America’s immigration policies. They have joined forces with fellow travelers at the state and local levels, with one of their goals being to flood the country with foreign nationals and disenfranchise American citizens from their right to choose leaders who will represent their interests.

This can be seen clearly in recent attempts to legalize noncitizen voting in elections. Fourteen local jurisdictions in deep-blue areas like San Francisco and Montpelier, Vermont, currently allow noncitizen voting. New York City had been on that list until the New York State Supreme Court recently struck down a law that would have added 800,000 foreign nationals on temporary status to voting rolls in citywide elections.

While activists may frame noncitizen voting as more fair and inclusive, it is actually dangerous and a threat to Americans’ rights. My organization, the Immigration Reform Law Institute, filed a friend-of-the-court brief in the New York case, and explained the many flaws with the movement for noncitizen voting.

The law in question, we pointed out, would dilute the votes of American citizens in New York City, by letting those who are not citizens vote. The law also discriminates against voters in New York City who were born in this country and thus are of American national origin, because the law would only add foreign-born persons to the voting rolls, thus diluting the votes of the American-born.

While activists may frame noncitizen voting as more fair and inclusive, it is actually dangerous and a threat to Americans’ rights.

We also showed that this law could never pass strict scrutiny, because the U.S. Supreme Court has repeatedly held that all Americans, whatever their national origin, have a constitutional right to be ruled by their fellow citizens, not by aliens.

There are some very strategic reasons why unscrupulous politicians and activists are advancing ideas like noncitizen voting. One obstacle to the goal of “fundamentally transforming” America, as Barack Obama once put it, is the bedrock principles that most Americans revere. They include ideas like American exceptionalism, free speech, fair elections, checks and balances on federal power, and others. These people will not go along with anything that infringes on concepts they believe made their country great.

Many foreign nationals, however, have no familiarity with or affinity for such principles. While they may have fled tyranny, they are likely more amenable to a government that chips away at their freedoms in exchange for some crumbs of federal assistance. By adding noncitizens to voting rolls, devious politicians believe they can achieve self-serving goals that would otherwise be denied to them by native-born Americans. That such a scheme is damaging to the interests of the country and its citizens is apparently of no concern.  

In this and several other recent cases, the courts have proven to be the last line of defense against the extremist anti-borders laws being forced on us by activists masquerading as elected officials. Not surprisingly, this pushback from the courts has provoked a massive tantrum on the left. Media and political figures are now calling for the Supreme Court to be packed, disbanded or diminished.

When the Supreme Court was controlled by doctrinaire liberals like Earl Warren, William Brennan and Thurgood Marshall, it was held up by the ruling class as an institution with impeccable wisdom and integrity. A few Trump appointments to the Court and some pro-America decisions later, we are now told that separation of powers is an outdated concept and the highest court in the land needs to be demolished.

Free and fair elections are the primary vehicle for American citizens to exercise their constitutional rights and have their interests represented in government. Adding foreign nationals to our elections is a dilution of our voting rights and a threat to our nation’s stability. We should oppose this idea wherever it is attempted.

Dale L. Wilcox is executive director and general counsel for the Immigration Reform Law Institute, a public interest law firm working to defend the rights and interests of the American people from the negative effects of mass migration.

Also published at The New American, July 12, 2022

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